'India vaccine deal is great news, but SA has to find more sources urgently'
South Africa is getting 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (Oxford University), Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday.
The vaccine's being acquired from the Serum Institute of India (SII) - a million doses this month and another 500 000 in February.
Health workers will be prioritised for vaccination.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved by various regulators around the world, but must still be vetted by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
On The Money Show, Ray White interviews Sahpra chairperson Professor Helen Rees.
The pressure was on... This is just incredibly good news...Prof. Helen Rees, Chair - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
Healthcare workers are under incredible stress and we need to protect them and keep them well. At least that will be one small way in which we can reduce the pressure that they're feeling at present.Prof. Helen Rees, Chair - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
At the same time she says, the Health Department is aware that South Africa has to reach out to every manufacturer with a vaccine that looks like it might be effective.
That's what we need to do as a matter of urgency. If our target is to reach 67% of our population, we're going to have to purchase a lot more vaccine.Prof. Helen Rees, Chair - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
The pressure is really on to find more sources of vaccine... Covax will give us over the course of this year about 10% of our population's needs...Prof. Helen Rees, Chair - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
As these vaccines are shown to be effective we are going to have to really chase down suppliers because we are competing with the rest of the world.Prof. Helen Rees, Chair - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
I do understand that the Department of Health is in discussion both with a Chinese manufacturer and with a Russian manufacturer.Prof. Helen Rees, Chair - SA Health Products Regulatory Authority
Rees also weighs in on the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine may be less effective than for example Pfizer's, but that its distribution presents less logistical problems.
Listen to the complete conversation below:
This article first appeared on 702 : 'India vaccine deal is great news, but SA has to find more sources urgently'
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